Health Promotion

Hiyam Al-Riyami ( 
PhD. Topic:  Mapping the capacity of Health Promotion Interventions for non-communicable diseases in Oman.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Lisa Pursell and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn 

This study examines the level of: knowledge, skills, commitment, system, structure and leadership that exist for promoting interventions (including policies, organisational and community level strategies) that are integrated into the existing structures for reducing non-communicable diseases in Oman. This is in order to identify gaps to determine where further Health Promotion capacity is required. This study will use a mixed methods approach to Health Promotion capacity mapping.   

Barbara Battel-Kirk (
PhD. Topic: Evaluating the uptake and impact of core competencies for Health Promotion on practice and education in Europe 2012-2017.
PhD. Supervisor: Professor Margaret Barry

The aim of this study is to evaluate the uptake and impact of Core Competencies for Health Promotion in practice and education in Europe 2012 to 2017. The study will also explore how the experiences of implementing the competencies in Europe can inform their expansion to global levels.

Lorraine Burke (
PhD. Topic:  The contexts and circumstances of early sexual initiation among adolescents in Ireland: A mixed methods investigation.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Colette Kelly and Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

This study aims to investigate the context and circumstances surrounding early first sexual intercourse.  The methodology includes quantitative analysis of sexual behaviour data collected from 15-17 year olds through the 2014 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Ireland survey.  The study will also qualitatively explore the views of adolescents through a series of participative workshops discussing findings arising from the qualitative phase of the research.  The study will provide an up-to-date understanding of the factors influencing Irish adolescent sexual initiation.

Mary Callaghan (
PhD. Topic: 
Exploring bullying and victimisation among post-primary school students in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisors: 
Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly

The aim of this study is to investigate the determinants of bullying among post-primary school students in Ireland.  Differences between traditional bullying and cyber bullying will also be explored.  This study will provide insight into factors influencing bullying and victimisation at the individual and school level in Ireland.

Saintuya Dashdondog (
PhD. Topic:  Examining determinants of eating patterns in preschool settings in disadvantages areas in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Colette Kelly

Preschool years are a critical period for growth and development and healthy or unhealthy habits formed at this age may persist in later years; therefore, preschools may serve as an important setting for Health Promotion.  Research shows that there is a strong relationship between low socioeconomic status and poor quality diets.  The aim of this study is to identify factors that influence eating patterns among preschoolers attending childcare settings in disadvantaged areas.  This project will examine staff, children and parents' perceptions and behaviours toward healthy eating at childcare settings and develop recommendations for promoting healthy eating in preschools in disadvantaged areas. 

Katherine Dowling (
PhD. Topic: Evaluating the effectiveness of the MindOut mental wellbeing programme in post-primary schools.
PhD. Supervisor: Professor Margaret Barry

This study will evaluate the recently revised MindOut programme, a social and emotional wellbeing programme for young people aged 15-18 years in post-primary schools. The evaluation seeks to determine the impact of this revised 12 session programme on young people’s social and emotional skills, academic outcomes and their mental health and wellbeing. Employing a randomised controlled study design, the evaluation will be undertaken with approximately 34 post-primary schools across the country in order to determine if the revised programme has beneficial outcomes for young people who receive the programme in comparison to those who do not. Additionally, this study will examine the process of implementation of the programme in order to determine the key characteristics and conditions that need to be in place in order to ensure programme effectiveness.

Kathy Ann Fox (
PhD. Topic:  Changes in attitudes towards alcohol use and drinking behaviours in early to mid-adolescence.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly.

This study investigates the changes in drinking behaviours, with a particular focus on adolescents' attitudes and perceived norms towards alcohol use.  A prospective mixed methods study design is employed, in order to observe changes over time among 12-15 year old adolescents, an age range where a notable increase in drinking behaviour has been identified.  Applying Social Norms Theory, this study will provide insight into the complex mix of influencing factors that could explain such changes in drinking behaviours, thus informing the development of interventions aimed at reducing adolescent alcohol use in Ireland.

Aoife Gavin ( 
PhD. Topic:  
Exploring trends in health behaviours among children in Ireland: 1998-2010.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Michal Molcho and Dr Colette Kelly

The aim of this study is to explore the trends in health behaviours among school-aged children in Ireland between 1998 and 2010 primarily utilising the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. The study will involve secondary data analysis, with methodological considerations for analysing cross-sectional trends data. A systematic review of peer-reviewed papers presenting trends data is underway to identify appropriate statistical approaches.

Helen Grealish ( 
PhD. Topic:  Assessing the impact of research on the development of policy in child and youth affairs. 
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

This study assesses the use of research in developing policy in the area of drug and alcohol misuse among adolescents in Ireland over a ten-year period.  This research project is using a triangulation of methods. Interviews will be conducted with participants from the research institutions who produce research and with policy makers whom the researchers seek to influence. Documentary analysis will be undertaken to identify how much of the published research is referenced in policy documents and in other documents relating to the decision making process. It is also testing the conceptual model, the Research Impact Framework (Kuruvilla et al., 2006).

Almas Kazmi (
MPhil. Topic: Investigating Mental Health Literacy Among Muslim Migrant Adolescents in Ireland.
MPhil. Supervisors: Professor Margaret Barry and Dr. Catherine-Anne Field

The focus of the research is to investigate the mental health literacy levels of Muslim migrant adolescents of India and Pakistan, living in Ireland, in terms of their understanding of mental health and related issues. This research will investigate mental health literacy and mental health related knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of Indo-Pak Muslim adolescents. This research will include structured survey questionnaires to explore the understanding of adolescents about mental health. After the exploration phase, on the basis of findings, the research will seek to promote the mental health literacy of the target population and reduce stigma through the use of modern technology.

Claire Kerins (  
PhD. Topic: Implementation of menu labelling interventions in the out-of-home food environment.
PhD. Supervisors: Dr Colette Kelly (NUIG), Professor Ivan Perry (UCC), Professor Catherine Hayes (TCD)

The aim of this research is to explore the contextual factors (i.e. individual- and organisational-level factors) that influence the implementation of menu labelling interventions in the out-of-home food environment.  The research plan is organised into two interlinked work streams: a mixed methods systematic review of the barriers and facilitators to implementing menu labelling interventions to support healthy food choices (Work Stream 1), followed by a multiple-case study to explore the influence of contextual factors on implementation of a calorie menu labelling policy in Irish public hospitals (Work Stream 2).  The proposed studies are guided by the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR).  The CFIR incorporates constructs from existing implementation theories into a single comprehensive framework that can help guide systematic evaluation of the implementation process.

Nurul Kodriati ( 
PhD. Topic:  Gender, masculinities, and smoking behaviour among males:  Settings based health promotion approach.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Lisa Pursell and Elli Nur Hayati

This study explores how smoking is a gendered behaviour in many parts of the world with the least ratio of male and female smokers occurring in Europe and America, but is more prevalent among males in countries like Indonesia, China, and Korea where it is more than ten times higher than among females.  Given the magnitude of the problem of male smoking in these regions, this study employed an initial scoping of literature to explore relationships between masculinities and smoking behaviours in general.  Following this, quantitative analysis of data taken from UN Multi-Country Study (UNMCS) of masculinity is being undertaken to examine smoking behaviours and masculinities within Indonesia.  Recommendations for future smoking interventions targeted towards men within settings based health promotion approach will be considered.  

Verna McKenna ( 
PhD. Topic: 
An investigation of the development of health literacy over time for persons attending a structured risk prevention programme.  
PhD. Supervisor: 
Professor Margaret Barry

Health literacy is an essential component of pursuing health and well-being in modern society. Health literacy includes peoples’ knowledge, motivation and competencies to assess, understand, appraise and apply health information to promote their health and those of family/community. It is relevant for making decisions in everyday life in terms of healthcare, disease prevention and health promotion. To date, little is currently known or understood about how it might develop over time or the processes by which people might become more health literate.  The aim of this study is to investigate and describe how individuals participating in a structured cardiovascular risk prevention and health promotion programme develop and practice health literacy in the management of their health. The study employs a longitudinal qualitative study design to explore changes in health literacy practices over a 12 month period.

Teresa Meaney (
PhD. Topic: Irish mothers experience of persisting with breastfeeding.
PhD. Supervisor: Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

Despite the accepted social, emotional and health benefits associated with breastfeeding the incidence of breastfeeding in Ireland is at an alarmingly low level (56% ERSI 2012) with Ireland having one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Europe. The aim of this study is to use a qualitative phenomenological longitudinal research approach to understand and gain insight into Irish mother’s experience of breastfeeding. It is anticipated that this study will provide a meaningful understanding of mother’s experience of persisting with breastfeeding. Knowledge may be generated to inform policy makers and health professionals on necessary areas for development in the promotion and support of breastfeeding.

Lhara Mullins (
PhD. Topic: Homecare and older people in Ireland: How much do we care?
PhD. Supervisor: Dr Margaret Hodgins

Older people in Ireland represent a fast-growing cohort and largely prefer to age in place.  The expanding homecare market in Ireland is currently unregulated and omits legislation to protect older people and promote minimum standards.  Lack of research on homecare particularly based upon the lived experiences of older people, further compounds the issue.  This research aims to ascertain the individual experiences of homecare from the older person's perspective and further gauge the systematic factors which influence the provision of homecare from those working in the sector.  

Christina Murphy (
PhD. Topic: 
From paper to practice: an exploration of teacher-delivered relationships and sexuality education in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisor:  Professor Saoirse Nic Gabhainn

This study explores the implementation of Relationships and Sexuality Education in-service training and how this training translates into practice in the classroom. This exploration aims to provide insight into what helps or hinders RSE implementation in a real world context. A mixed method approach was employed at both training and school-level.

Áine O'Brien (
PhD. Topic: Characteristics of Injury Fatalities in the West of Ireland; Investigating Coroner Inquest Reports.
PhD. Supervisor: Dr Margaret Hodgins

Trauma from injury and violence represents a major public health problem affecting individuals, families and communities.  Annually, it accounts for 5 million deaths worldwide (9% of global mortality).  In Ireland, it is the fourth leading cause of mortality, yet inadequate research has been published in this area.  Death certificate records provide limited data on injury mortality.  Coroner inquest reports provide case information collated from multiple sources (including police reports, witness statements, coronial autopsy and forensic pathologist post mortem and toxicology examinations).  Comprehensive information is available in these reports regarding the manner and mechanism of injury, the presence of alcohol and drugs, detailed descriptions of injuries and a narrative of the circumstances resulting in death.  This study investigates characteristics of injury-related fatalities in the West of Ireland over a 5 year period through these data sources.

Elena Vaughan (
PhD. Topic: 
Sex, stigma and silence:  Sexual politics and the discursive construction of HIV in Ireland.
PhD. Supervisors:  Dr Martin Power and Dr Jane Sixsmith

The aim of this study is to investigate the discourse of HIV and the phenomenon of HIV-related stigma in Ireland.  The study draws on theories of language and ideology by theorists such as Foucault and Bourdieu and will apply a Critical Discourse Analysis framework in the analysis of media and policy texts pertaining to HIV.  In addition, interviews and people living with HIV will be conducted in order to evaluate their experiences of stigma and discrimination.

Jaroslava Velartova (
PhD. Topic:  Defining and managing risk in adult social care disability services.
PhD. Supervisor:  Dr Martin Power

This research will explore understandings that surround the manner in which risk is defined, perceived and operationalised by stakeholders.  While risk assessment has become ubiquitous in social care, service users, social care staff and service provider managers often approach risks differently.  As a consequence, there can be challenges to balancing competing demands of independence, autonomy, health, safety and duty of care.

Kerry Ward (
MPhil. Topic: 
Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young people.
MPhil. Supervisor: 
Professor Margaret Barry

This study will evaluate the recently revised MindOut programme, a social and emotional wellbeing programme of young people aged 15-18 yers, within Youthreach and youth work settings in Ireland.  The evaluation seeks to determine the feasibility of implementing this programme using a new modular delivery method.  This modular delivery method offers youth workers the opportunity to choose a 'mix and match' of the sessions within MindOut to produce a programme that best meets the needs of each group thus providing greater flexibility of delivery across a wide range of settings.